Media Commission in Place by Month-end

THE Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission will be in place before month-end as part of the implementation of the global political agreement (GPA) signed by the country’s three main parties last year.

The GPA — signed by President Robert Mugabe and the leaders of the two MDC formations — Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara — gave birth to the formation of the inclusive government in February.

Two more commissions, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, would also be put in place.

Gorden Moyo, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, told a meeting of civic leaders organised by Freedom House to debate the role of civil society in the unity government that the four commissions would be in place in three weeks.

Moyo said the commissions would be expected to immediately commence their mandates.

“Now that the Parliamentary Standing Rules and Orders Committee is in place, the inclusive government will within the coming three weeks set up the Zimbabwe Media Commission and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and the two commissions are expected to start work immediately,” Moyo said.

The Standing Rules and Orders Committee was set up two weeks ago and is expected to appoint members to the commissions and forward their names to Mugabe for appointment.

The setting up of the ZMC would be expected to speed up the opening of the media space to allow new and independent players in the industry that has been choked by repressive laws put in place by the Zanu-PF government.

The ZMC is also expected to lead the process of media reform, but most importantly to register new media houses.

Already NewsDay, a proposed daily newspaper project by Zimbabwe Independent and the Standard newspapers owner Trevor Ncube, has indicated its readiness to register and is already in the process of recruiting staff.

Turning to the tenure of the inclusive government, Moyo said it would end once a new people-driven constitution has been put in place.

“The tenure of this all-inclusive government will expire after the drafting of a people-driven constitution and elections will be held after the new constitution has been approved,” Moyo said.

Government officials who addressed the three-day civil society meeting were Prime Minister Tsvangirai, his deputy Arthur Mutambara, Constitutional Affairs minister Eric Matinenga, Deputy Minister of Media, Information and Publicity Jameson Timba, and Justice deputy minister Jessie Majome.

Ministers from Zanu PF were conspicuous by their absence at the meeting.

BY LOUGHTY DUBE